NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2020

The Lightning down the Blue Jackets in a five-overtime marathon. Check out the details in the recaps of the opening round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning needed five overtime periods to edge the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series. Brayden Point tallied the winner at 10:27 of the fifth-overtime period, marking the fourth-longest game in NHL history, lasting over six hours and 13 minutes. The goal was Point’s second of the game. Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and an assist for the Jackets.

 

 

     

Tampa Bay Lightning center Braydon Point (NHL Images).

The two teams combined for a record 151 shots, with the Lightning firing a record 88. Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo set a record with 85 saves while Bolts netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 61. Jackets defenseman Seth Jones also set a record for minutes-played by a skater, logging 65 minutes and six seconds of ice time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the most entertaining multiple overtime game I’ve seen since the Buffalo Sabres edged the New Jersey Devils 1-0 in Game 6 of their 1994 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. These types of games usually turn into long, dull defensive slogs with few quality scoring chances. Not this game. Every period was fast-paced and exciting, with the Lightning having the bulk of the offensive opportunities. A tough loss for the Jackets, who’ll have little time to recover before Game 2 tomorrow.

Because of the length of the Lighting-Blue Jackets game, the NHL rescheduled Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes to 11 am ET today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the right call by the league. It reportedly would’ve taken nearly two hours following the end of the Bolts-Jackets game to clean the dressing rooms and players benches and to prepare the ice surface for the Bruins and Hurricanes.

Rasmus Andersson’s second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Calgary Flames held off the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series. Dillon Dube scored twice as the Flames jumped to a 2-0 lead but the Stars tied it on goals by Denis Gurianov and Jamie Benn nine seconds apart. Stars defenseman Stephen Johns left the game in the second period and is listed as “unfit to play.” Stars center Tyler Seguin was held without a shot.    

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dube had a heck of a game for the Flames, especially with his second goal that looked like a Pavel Bure special. Teammate Milan Lucic is also playing well, picking up his fifth point (1-4-5) in as many games.

Reilly Smith scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Vegas Golden Knights over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Mark Scheifele said he doesn’t believe Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk deliberately intended to injure him in Game 1 of their qualifying-round series. Scheifele suffered an injury to the back of his leg following a collision with Tkachuk, who reached out to the Jets center explaining he was skating too fast and lost control as he approached Scheifele along the boards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets coach Paul Maurice had thought otherwise, accusing Tkachuk of a dirty hit and doubling down a day later. It was obvious, however, that the collision was accidental. I think Tkachuk got a bad rap here because of his well-earned reputation for questionable tactics. If it had been Tkachuk’s teammate Johnny Gaudreau colliding with Scheifele, nobody would’ve thought it was dirty.

CBS SPORTS: Edmonton Oilers forward Tyler Ennis suffered a fractured leg and ligament damage near his ankle during an Aug. 5 game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s expected to be recovered in time for the 2020-21 season, but it might not be with the Oilers. Ennis is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is expected to rejoin his teammates in Edmonton on Friday after traveling to St. Louis to be with his wife during the birth of his son.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines, recaps of Wednesday’s games plus the latest on Jake Muzzin,  Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Micheal Ferland, and more.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jeff Petry scored his second game-winning goal as the Montreal Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3, taking a 2-1 lead in their qualifying-round series. Habs captain Shea Weber led the way with a goal and two assists.

 

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens seemed done like dinner midway through the second period. They’re now poised to eliminate the Penguins in Game 4 on Friday. And speaking of potential upsets…

The Chicago Blackhawks got two unanswered third-period goals by Matthew Highmore and Jonathan Toews to nip the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 and take a 2-1 lead in their qualifier. Toews finished the game with two goals while teammate Corey Crawford made 25 saves to become the 20th goaltender in NHL history to record his 50th career playoff win. Leon Draisaitl scored twice and set up another for the Oilers. Edmonton defenseman Adam Larsson was unfit to play while Oilers winger Tyler Ennis left the game in the second period with an apparent leg injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bounces went the Blackhawks’ way as Highmore’s goal was a deflection from a point shot while Toews’ deflected shot bounced in off an Oilers’ defenseman. They’re now poised to eliminate the Oilers if they win Game 4 on Friday.

The Boston Bruins won’t be the top seed in the 2020 playoffs after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning in round-robin play. Tyler Johnson tallied the winning goal late in the third period. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 32 saves in his return to action after being unfit to play in their first round-robin game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the first time in NHL history the season’s Presidents’ Trophy winner won’t be the top seed in the playoffs. The Bruins are 0-2 in round-robin play. While they are guaranteed a playoff spot, they risk drawing a tougher first-round opponent the lower they sink in the round-robin seedings.

The Florida Panthers avoided elimination by hanging on for a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Third-period goals by Mike Hoffman and Brian Boyle broke a 1-1 tie while Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves for the win. A rare penalty by Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov for playing the puck beyond the trapezoid behind his net led to Hoffman’s power-play goal. The Isles hold a 2-1 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the Panthers’ first postseason victory since the 2016 playoffs. It certainly came at the right time. They also shook up their lineup yesterday, scratching Mike Matheson and Frank Vatrano after their disappointing performances in the first two games.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Conor Garland, Taylor Hall, and Carl Soderberg lifted the Arizona Coyotes over the Nashville Predators 4-1. The Coyotes hold a 2-1 series lead. Darcy Kuemper enjoyed a bounce-back effort in this contest with a 39-save performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes weathered the first-period onslaught from the Predators and opened the scoring on their first shot of the game. They finally got some productions from Hall and Garland, who’d been held goalless in the first two games.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz kicked out 27 shots to shut out the Dallas Stars 4-0 in round-robin action. Cale Makar tallied the game-winner while Joonas Donskoi and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars were without starting goalie Ben Bishop and defenseman John Klingberg in this game. Both were declared unfit to play. Under league protocols, no reason was given for their absence, but it doesn’t appear as though it’s COVID-related.

HEADLINES TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin won’t be available for the remainder of his club’s qualifying-round series with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was injured in Game 2 and taken to hospital with what appeared to be a head or neck injury. Muzzin was released yesterday and returned to the Leafs hotel within the safety zone and will remain in quarantine until cleared. Martin Marincin will replace him in the lineup for today’s match with the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois won’t face supplemental discipline for the hit that sent Muzzin to hospital after colliding awkwardly with Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstand.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets aren’t ruling out Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine for Game 4 of their qualifier with the Calgary Flames later today. Both players have been sidelined since Game 1. The Flames hold a 2-1 series lead and could wrap it up with a win today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets need some help following a dispiriting loss in Game 3. They also need Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor to start cashing in or this series will be over later tonight.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland is out of action and has returned to his home in Brandon, Manitoba. He’s been declared “unfit to play”, raising speculation it’s tied to the concussion symptoms that sidelined him for most of this season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals forward Lars Eller returned to Washington to be with his wife as she gives birth to their second child. He’ll rejoin his teammates following a period of quarantine and testing in the first round of the playoffs.

SPORTSNET: A report from a Swedish media outlet indicates winger Oskar Lindblom will be traveling to the Toronto bubble to join his Philadephia Flyers teammates. He missed the bulk of this season battling a rare form of bone cancer and finished his treatment on July 2. He could return to action in September if the Flyers are still in the playoffs by then.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl has resumed skating for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury in January.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi has re-signed a one-year contract with Finland’s Karpat. It’s believed the deal contains an out-clause should Puljujarvi return to the Oilers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports suggest the relationship between Puljujarvi and the Oilers has improved after he spent last season in Finland. With the NHL tentatively planning a full 82-game schedule in December, it makes sense for him to get in some meaningful playing time in Finland before NHL camps open in November.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The general managers of the seven non-playoff teams have submitted a proposal to the league allowing their clubs a two-week mini-camp before training camp for all clubs open in November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a reasonable proposal. Those teams haven’t played since the regular season was derailed in mid-March and they’re now amid an unusually long off-season.  










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2020

Recaps of the opening games of the qualifying round and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik scored twice and collected three assists in a 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Kubalik set a record for most points by a rookie in his first playoff game. Jonathan Toews also scored twice for the Hawks. Oilers forwards Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists. Blackhawks forward Drake Caggiula will have a hearing on Sunday with the league’s department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of Oilers winger Tyler Ennis.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks feasted on the shaky play of Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and his teammates’ sloppy defensive play. Smith was replaced in the second period by Mikko Koskinen after giving up five goals on 23 shots. He could get the call for Game 2 on Monday.

The Montreal Canadiens upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jeff Petry. Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price made 39 saves while rookies Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki picked up their first NHL playoff goals. Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust replied for the Penguins. Pittsburgh winger Conor Sheary and Montreal winger Jonathan Drouin failed to score on penalty-shot attempts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins also missed several good scoring opportunities. Nevertheless, Price did a fine job rising to the occasion for his overmatched teammates. If he wasn’t in the heads of the Penguins before this game, he is now.

A 4-1 victory by the Calgary Flames over the Winnipeg Jets was overshadowed by the departure of Jets center Mark Scheifele early in the game with an injured left leg following a collision with Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. The Flames got power-play goals by Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund and a shorthanded tally by Tobias Rieder. The Jets also lost winger Patrik Laine to an apparent hand injury in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets coach Paul Maurice believes Tkachuk deliberately attempted to injure Schiefele, which the winger denied. There’s no question the loss of Scheifele affected his teammates, who seemed off-balance for most of the game. Maurice also indicated Scheifele and Laine will be examined by specialists, which suggests both could be sidelined for lengthy periods.

Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the New York Rangers 3-2. Petr Mrazek picked up the win with a 24-save effort. Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 34 shots while Mika Zibanejad also had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The score flattered the Rangers, who were dominated by the Hurricanes for most of this game. It would’ve been a more lopsided loss if not for Lundqvist, who got the call after Igor Shesterkin was a last-minute scratch. He’s listed as day-to-day. Rangers winger Jesper Fast left the game in the first period following a big hit by former teammate Brady Skjei.

Semyon Varlamov kicked out 27 shots while Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anthony Beauvillier scored as the New York Islanders held on for a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 26 shots for the Panthers. Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk left the game in the second period following an illegal hit to the head from Panthers blueliner Mike Matheson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky kept his teammates in this game but they couldn’t get the equalizer. No word on Boychuk’s status while Matheson only received a two-minute penalty.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Prior to Saturday’s Oilers-Blackhawks game, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba made a moving speech on behalf of the Hockey Diversity Alliance and took a knee during the American National Anthem, flanked by Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban and Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse. Dumba is among the co-founders of the Hockey Diversity Alliance to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is questionable for today’s round-robin game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Rask wasn’t feeling well and was unfit to participate in yesterday’s practice.

Bruins winger Ondrej Kase finally rejoined his teammates after missing all of the Phase 3 training camp. He isn’t expected to be in today’s lineup and it could be a few games before he returns to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cassidy’s remarks about Rask doesn’t sound as though his status is COVID-related.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman John Carlson returned to practice Saturday for the first time since leaving Wednesday’s exhibition game with an undisclosed ailment. It’s yet to be decided if he’ll play in tomorrow’s round-robin game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 5, 2020

Updates on Thomas Greiss, Andy Greene, Peter Laviolette, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene hopes to return for another season (Photo via NHL Images).

THE SCORE: New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss is offering food, toilet paper, and other items to people in need during this coronavirus pandemic.

NEWSDAY: Islanders defenseman Andy Greene expects to continue his NHL career next season. Whether it’s with the Isles, however, remains to be seen.

The 37-year-old Greene was acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 16. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

NBC SPORTS: Peter Laviolette hopes to return to the NHL coaching ranks. With 637 wins, he’s only the fourth coach in league history to guide three different teams (Carolina, Philadelphia, Nashville) to the Stanley Cup Final. He was selected to coach Team USA at the 2020 World Championships, but that tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Laviolette’s record, he’ll return behind an NHL bench at some point within the next year or two.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele are among the only four players remaining from the Jets’ 2011-12 roster. Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little are the other two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging by recent reports, that number will be down to three whenever next season opens. Byfuglien’s contract is expected to be terminated soon.

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 21, 2020

Alex Ovechkin is one goal shy of 700, Mark Scheifele and Jonathan Huberdeau have four-point performances, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 699th career goal, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club from dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Montreal Canadiens. Ben Chiarot scored twice, including the winning goal. The Capitals moved into a first-place tie (80 points) with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division, but the Pens hold a game in hand. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens made a minor trade with the Penguins, acquiring Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini in exchange for Riley Barber and Phil Varone

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is one goal away from reaching 700. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back from a 5-2 defeat against the Penguins by blanking the latter 4-0 in the second game of their home-and-home series. Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for the shutout while Jake Muzzin had a goal and two assists. With the win, the Leafs (72 points) regained possession of third place in the Atlantic Division.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele had a hat trick and added an assist to lead his club over the Ottawa Senators 5-1. With 69 points, the Jets vaulted over the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Kevin Hayes scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Travis Konecny had a goal and two assists for the Flyers (75 points), opening a two-point lead over the Jackets for third in the Metro Division. Earlier in the day, the Flyers sent defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their fourth straight win by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3. Alec Martinez had a goal and an assist in his debut with the Golden Knights. Steven Stamkos tallied twice for the Lightning as their 11-game winning streak – and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 21-game points streak – came to an end. The Bolts (85 points) sit three behind the league-leading Boston Bruins, while Vegas (72 points) moved into the top spot in the Pacific Division.

Despite a four-point effort by Jonathan Huberdeau, the Florida Panthers were nipped by the Los Angeles Kings 5-4. Kings rookie Gabe Vilardi had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut. The Panthers (70 points) slipped to fourth in the Atlantic Division.

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington turned aside 14 shots for his second straight shutout in a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Ryan O’Reilly tallied the only goal as the Blues (78 points) regained sole possession of first place in the Central Division.

P.K. Subban tallied the game-winner as the New Jersey Devils edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood kicked out 36 shots to win his sixth game (6-0-1) in his last seven starts. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed Domingue on waivers and held him out of this game for precautionary reasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2020

Another milestone for Marc-Andre Fleury, hat-trick performances by James Neal, Zach Werenski, and Kyle Connor, Jake Guentzel sidelined for months, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 455th career victory as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2. He moves into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time wins list. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Golden Knights, who move atop the Pacific Division standings with 50 points.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury moves into sixth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list (Photo via NHL Images).

A hat trick by James Neal and a four-point effort by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins helped the Edmonton Oilers hold off the New York Rangers 7-5. The Oilers ran up a 6-0 lead before the Rangers made it interesting with four third-period goals. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin picked up four points. The Oilers (46 points) hold a one-point lead over the Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski tallied his first career hat trick and Elvis Merzlikins picked up his first career NHL victory in a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers, spoiling former Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s return to Columbus. Earlier in the day, the Jackets announced goalie Joonas Korpisalo will be sidelined four-to-six weeks following surgery on his right knee.

Kyle Connor’s second career hat trick carried the Winnipeg Jets to a 7-4 win over the slumping Colorado Avalanche. Mark Scheifele collected four points while Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Jack Roslovic each had three-point performances. Nathan MacKinnon tallied twice for the Avs, who’s lost five of their last six games. Jets center Mathieu Perreault returned to the lineup following a six-game absence with a concussion.

Alex Killorn scored two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 6-4. Killorn and Tyler Johnson each finished with three points, as did the Sabres’ Conor Sheary. With 46 points, the Lightning move into third place in the Atlantic Division.

Patrick Kane scored twice and set up two others as the Chicago Blackhawks doused the Calgary Flames 5-3. Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner had a 41-save performance.

The St. Louis Blues’ eight-game win streak ended in a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Antti Raanta made 38 stops while Phil Kessel netted the game-winner. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes placed defenseman Aaron Ness on waivers.

The New Jersey Devils overcame a 2-0 deficit to upset the Boston Bruins 3-2 on a shootout goal by Damon Severson. Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 42 saves in a losing cause, but the Bruins did pick up a point to extend their streak to eight games.

New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov kicked out 38 shots (18 in the third period) as his club edged the Washington Capitals 4-3. Casey Cizikas scored twice for the Isles while Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied two goals for the Capitals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their seventh win in their last eight contests by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and William Nylander each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Leafs re-signed defenseman Justin Holl to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2 million.

The Montreal Canadiens dropped their third straight game, falling 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. They also lost winger Brendan Gallagher to a possible concussion after being accidentally kneed in the head by teammate Ben Chiarot. Hurricanes forwards Erik Haula and Teuvo Teravainen each had two points.The Habs have fallen to 12th overall in the Eastern Conference.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a six-game losing skid by blanking the San Jose Sharks 2-0. Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves for the shutout while Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek were the goal scorers.

A four-goal first period powered the Los Angeles Kings over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Jonathan Quick made 32 saves while Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe each collected two points.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel will be sidelined four-to-six months following surgery on his right shoulder after Monday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was fined $5,000.00 and Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau $2,500.00 for their late-game scrum.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel’s absence is a big blow to the injury-ravaged Penguins. With 20 goals and 43 points in 39 games, he had been selected to participate in the 2020 All-Star Game later this month in St. Louis. His lengthy absence could provide an opportunity for struggling Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk, who was the subject of frequent trade speculation in recent weeks.